Monday, September 26, 2011


A long time ago, when this child was about 2, one of our friends observed, "He's really weird!"  This is still true,  I think.  I believe he made this little clip about a year and a half ago, when we had just gotten a new mouse.  You can hear me nagging the larger hooligan in the background.  I had never seen this video until two days ago, when the kids were going through old photobooth bits and sent it to my email.
If I put it on you tube, do you think it might go viral?

Saturday, September 24, 2011


Me to Hooligans:  "We're having a family portrait done late this afternoon.  I am going to pick out what you guys are going to wear and you will need to shower."

Larger Hooligan:  no comment, just major eye roll, noisily slurped the remainder of his milkshake, then helped himself to mine.

Smaller Hooligan (horrified/outraged, and by the way, extremely grubby after two soccer games and a milkshake):  "A SHOWER?  WHY?  Is it A SCRATCH and SNIFF picture or something?"

The Larger Hooligan and I cracked up, like snorting milkshake out our noses and crying cracked up.  The Smaller Hooligan smirked ever so slightly and resisted the urge to laugh.

Is this what it is like to be Jon Stewart's mother?  It is awesome.  We are lucky women.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Subconscious concerns about the future

The Man Who Lives In My House had a dream in which the smaller hooligan was a newborn  and he was a baby gorilla instead of a human.
So cute!  I sort of want one!

"He was furry and everything!"  said the Man, handing me a cup of coffee, "And we really liked him.  We named him and we were carrying him around, but I was already worried about what he would be like as a teenager."

I guess this is not too wierd, given that the Larger Hooligan has just entered middle school.  We are wrestling with mighty piles of spanish and pre-algebra homework.  He is noticing that he is learning stuff that I do not know.  This is going straight to his (big) head, let me tell you.

Also Football practice--don't ask.  I hate football.  But the larger Hooligan is, well, large.  And very strong, but not super fast.  Soccer was not his metier.  He got called for fouls frequently because if he even bumped into someone a little bit, they appeared  to have been bulldozed.  He felt really bad about this--it is never fun to have to curb your enthusiasm.

Various dads have been taking me aside for years:  "Kate, He really should play football."
"Bleah!"   I would reply, sticking my fingers in my ears, "No! Stop recruiting my son!"

Anyway, I caved.  There are pros and cons.  On the pro side, The larger Hooligan is feeling the glow of success.  He is encouraged to go full boar (bore?) and not hold back.  You do not have to tell him twice.  Also there are no weekend games--four nights a week of practices/games, but weekends are free!  And all the games are local.  In soccer as they get more advanced, the games and tournaments happen all over the state.  What you spend on gas, food and hotel rooms is unbelievable, not to mention that your weekends are not longer your own.

The cons are, well, it is football.  I don't understand the rules.  I fret about injury, although our pediatrician friend (whose son also plays) assures us that the injury rate is about the same as soccer, at this level.  It is incredibly tedious.  Many of my fellow parents appear to be living vicariously through their sons' success/failure, which can be hard to witness.

I am just showing up as expected, helping with the carpooling, providing snacks and keeping him hydrated.  Besides this I am very uninvolved.  As long as no one gets hurt I do not care if they win or lose, I do not care if he plays or is on the bench.  This is surprisingly freeing!  I guess it falls into the pro category, now that I think about it.

So our young silverback has a venue in which to roar and beat his chest.  If this means he will act reasonably civilized at home I will not complain.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mine are getting too big to cuddle.

Here I am with my perfectly delightful nephew.  He is nearly perfect: by this I mean that he laughs at all my jokes and will do absolutely anything I require of him for the price of one m & m, which he calls "om-n-oms."

Plus I can still throw this guy up in the air.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

10 years ago

I had just gone back to work, teaching special ed half time at a public school in one of Baltimore's worst neighborhoods--which is saying something.  The school hadn't quite figured out what to do with me yet--funding for a half time special ed teacher had come through at the last minute.  I didn't have a classroom or a schedule. When I went to work on Sept. 11, I was asked to cover for another teacher while he checked out a strange news item on the computer--apparently, some pilot had flown a plane into the World Trade Center in New York.  How bizarre was that?

Shortly after the first morning bell, the principal came to the classroom door and beckoned me over, "I need to talk to you for a minute, Ms. McCarthy."

"Oh dear," I thought, "I hope there's not something wrong with my paperwork and licensure, I hope they're not going to try to make me work full time."

Her voice was very low, so it wouldn't carry, "They've flown planes into the world trade center," she said, "And they're bombing the Pentagon."

All the background noise faded away while I stared at her.  Who were "They?"  The Pentagon is less than forty five minutes' drive from Baltimore.  There were a lot of rumors and exaggerations that day, such as "they're bombing." Behind me, kids were throwing pencils and writing curse words on the chalkboard.  "I think..... I think I'd better go get my son."

"Yes," she said.  "Go as soon as Gerald gets back.  Check the radio in the morning, I don't know whether school will be open."

A few minutes later I was in my car.  The local public radio station was broadcasting which freeways were closed for security reasons.  I was pretty sure I could get home by a back route, and barring that, I figured I would walk--I was only about four miles from our home and the sitter's house.  I regretted my shoe choice--red sandals with a thick wedge heel.  They were frivolous shoes I had bought to celebrate my new job--it could have been worse, but they were not exactly designed for a hike.  As it happened, I was able to drive the whole way.

I stayed with the sitter for a little while, listening to the radio.  The toddlers in her care were strangely subdued, crawling through a pile of cushions and playing peacefully with blocks.  No one cried or bit, or maybe we just didn't notice.

I took my little hooligan home, changed shoes and strapped him into his stroller.  I did not want to spend the day alone with the news.  We walked along the silent streets to a friend's house.  The neighborhood was as quiet as six a.m. on a Sunday morning.  The babies played and napped while we sat numbly on the couch, looking at the screen with the sound off.

For the Feeble: La-Z-Girl Recliner on Wheels

We rode our bikes to the Japanese pub for a hip, cheap grown up date.  The hooligans were invited, but preferred to stay home and eat mac and cheese.  

Usually we ride the tandem on bike dates, but our regular bikes were already out and it was so hot--getting the tandem down from it's ceiling rack was too much effort.  As we cruised up to the bike path the conversation went as follows:

Me (on my wicked-witch-of-the-west-style up-right posture granny bike):  "This is hard, usually I just chill on the back of the tandem and you do all the work."

The Man Who Live In My house:  "I knew it!  HA"

Me:  "Well my butt hurts from going for a ride with Heidi and Katie on Friday.  My bike seat is just not comfortable."

TMWLIMH:  "I'll see if I can order you an even BIGGER seat." (note: My bike seat is huge.)

Me:  "Maybe I need a recumbent bike."

TMWLIMH:  "What you need is a bike where you can lie down.  I guess that would be a gurney."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Culprit Has Been Known to Bark and Drool.

Monday afternoon we got home from an epic camping-backpacking-road trip.  We spent the remainder of the day unpacking the car and washing/putting away the vast quantities of gear in the garage.

The Man Who Lives In My House thoughtfully got a pound of frozen hamburger out to thaw....but then we looked at the garden and saw the bushels of tomatoes and basil that had gone crazy while we were away (It finally got hot!) and decided to make a huge caprese salad instead.

I thought I put the hamburger in the fridge, but last night I could not locate it.  Not in the fridge, not in the freezer....not in the garage or the would reveal it's location by smell, by now...and nothing smells except:
He looks guilty, doesn't he?

Otto has been emitting noxious fumes intermitantly for the last 12 hours.  Keri stopped in to shop my closet (she likes my clothes :)) and have coffee this morning.  Suddenly the air was so foul we had to step outside.  

So I think I know what happened to the hamburger.

I've asked this before, and the question remains:  Why DO I like dogs?